Ex-drug executive Shkreli to face U.S. fraud trial in June 2017

Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:43pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive who last year became a lightning rod for criticism of soaring prescription drug prices, is now scheduled to go on trial in June 2017 in the U.S. government's securities fraud case against him.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, in Brooklyn, New York, set a June 26, 2017, trial date in the case against Shkreli, 33, and Evan Greebel, a former lawyer for Retrophin Inc (RTRX.O: Quote), a biopharmaceutical company which Shkreli founded and headed until 2014.

Prosecutors had sought to have the four-week trial take place as soon as February. But Benjamin Brafman, Shkreli's lawyer, pushed for a June date, citing his schedule in other cases and complex motions he planned.

"We're not just going to be sitting on a beach waiting for the June trial date," Brafman said.

The judge also set Oct. 2, 2017, for a potential second trial, after Brafman said he expected to file a severance motion so that Shkreli and Greebel could be tried separately. Greebel had been seeking an October trial date.

Brafman argued that separating the two defendants at trial was necessary, as Shrekli's defense would turn in part on legal advice that Greebel had provided him in undertaking some of the central actions in the case.

Outside of court, Brafman said Shkreli was not accusing Greebel of wrongdoing, and that pursuing an advice-of-counsel defense did not mean either man committed a crime.

"I don't think there's a finger of blame to point in this case," he said.   Continued...

Martin Shkreli (L), former chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, departs with his attorney Benjamin Brafman following a hearing at U.S. Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. July 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid